Tag: popcorn

Transplanting is Transformational

The Micro Farm is a “buzz” with activity.

Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers
Pollinators are enjoying the black raspberry flowers

The strawberry patch is also producing lovely berries this year.  Such a nice crop mean I need to protect the ripe berries from animals nibbling.

The strawberries protected
The strawberries protected

I use a bird netting purchased at a local nursery.  It keeps most of the critters from eating the ripe fruit.

I spent a good deal of the week transplanting seedlings.  One evening while working on the Micro Farm.  I noticed small movements near my neighbor’s shed.  Sure enough two small rabbits.  I knew I needed to do something to protect my tender and young plants.  Fencing is what I needed, but I wanted to avoid the traditional woven metal fence.  A local home store had landscaping timbers on sale, decision made.

New "fencing"
New “fencing”

Hopefully this will keep the rabbits out.  We will have to wait and see.

I transplanted tomatoes, peppers, celery, cabbage, and cauliflower.

Cabbage transplants
Cabbage transplants
Cauliflower transplant
Cauliflower transplant
Tomato transplants
Tomato transplants

I also planted five pounds of seed potatoes, another 75 onion sets, beets, edamame,  popcorn, and carrots.

Growing greens has been a failure so far this season.  So I am tried putting some seed in six-packs to determine the quality of the seed.  The seed produced well.  I In another week I will put them into the ground.

Lettuce seedlings
Lettuce seedlings

As the rain falls tonight.  I am excited to see how the young plants spring to life over the next week.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

Bee Cornee

I finished raking up pine needles this week.  I can not believe the warm temperatures.  I may not need the pine needles as mulch for several more weeks.

My neighbor also grows popcorn, and he stopped over Saturday to ask when I was planning to harvest.  We check in with each other around this time of year to talk popcorn.  I planned to harvest this weekend.  Everything looked nice and dry, no green cobs.  I had everything I needed to harvest.  Then I went to reach for the first cob, and all I saw was red.

This popcorn cob was eaten on the stalk
This popcorn cob was eaten on the stalk

The birds have been very busy.  They took at least three entire cobs.  I was pretty angry, mostly at myself for not getting to them sooner.  Fortunately, I have about 13 cobs drying.  The cobs need about a week to dry so the kernels are hard, no soggy popcorn.

Top Left - a cob just shucked; Top Right - close up of an ear still on the stalk; Bottom Left - half the cobs drying; Bottom Right - the other half drying
Top Left – a cob just shucked; Top Right – close up of an ear still on the stalk; Bottom Left – half the cobs drying; Bottom Right – the other half drying

After the cobs dry out. I work the kernels off the cob and store the kernels in quart mason jars.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a glimpse of red while carrying popcorn ears to the harvest basket.  Upon further investigation I found a very nice looking red pepper.

Another beautiful red pepper
Another beautiful red pepper

The green, and red, peppers have been excellent this year.  It is rare for me to be able to grow this many red peppers but with the mild temperatures it has allowed them to ripen to red.

Today I picked my first rutabaga.  I think my first year growing rutabagas has been successful.

First rutabaga the size of my hand
First rutabaga the size of my hand

Not only are the vegetables still doing well, I have a few flowers still in bloom.  On one of the cosmos flowers was a bee.

A bee working late into the evening
A bee working late into the evening

I am always happy to see pollinators working this late in the Fall.  When you are thinking about your garden next year think about how to feed pollinators in the Fall and early Spring.  Bees and other pollinators need food sources in those times when flowers are scarce.  Bees are a natural resource that is at risk, so please help them however you can.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

Late Summer Progress

No shortage of work to be done around the Micro-farm lately.  Most of the work has been cleaning and not related directly to growing food.  After all this non-garden work I am glad to be writing the blog again.

Popcorn
A few popcorn ears

The popcorn has tassled and most of the stalks have two ears on them.  I like the purple color on the tips of the silk.  It looks like another good year for popcorn.

One of three pumpkins
One of three pumpkins

After a couple of years of having to many pumpkins I only planted one or two plants this year.  Looking through the leaves today I saw three pumpkins.  They are good-sized.  I hope the pull through, the weather has been wet and damp lately.  Some of the leaves look like they have downy mildew on them.

Pumpkin leaves with downey mildew on them
Pumpkin leaves with downy mildew on them
The dry beans are mostly dry
The dry beans are mostly dry

As the dry beans continue to turn yellow I will pull out the plants by the roots then dry them on a screen.  After they are dried well, I will beat the plants against the screen to get the beans out.

The green pepper bulbs
The green pepper bulbs

I think this is the most successful year I have had growing peppers.  This year I was more disciplined in my plantings.  I planted fewer plants in each row than I have in the past.  I think I found the right ratio to space and plants.

Living and dying tomato vines
Living and dying tomato vines

A few weeks back I questioned if I should spray my tomatoes for late blight.  Well, many of the vines are dying.  They do not show signs of late blight on the fruit so I am wondering why they are dying.  Over the next day or so I will harvest all the fruit and place it in a cool place.  Those that are green hopefully, will ripen.

Over the past couple of weeks I also have done some planting.  I always plant something late in the season that I know that has little chance to finish before the frost.  A farmer friend offered me some free seedlings.  I planted some cabbage and broccoli.  I chose them because they were the most cold hardy and I thought they might have a chance.

Cabbage and broccoli seedlings.
Cabbage and broccoli seedlings.

The cauliflower, rutabaga, and kohlrobi are off to a poor start.  A few of the cauliflowers are doing well.  The rutabaga and kohlrobi are doing poorly, if they are growing at all.

A young cauliflower
A young cauliflower

I hope you are busy enjoying the bounty of your garden.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

Harvest Here, Harvest There

Another transition has been reached at the Micro-farm.  Much less weeding and more of a focus on harvesting.  Two big harvests happened this week.

Friends have been giving us beets to pickle the past few years.  I was at a workshop and learned about a variety of beets named “Cylindra” that grows long but not round.  For canning a thinner and less round beet is easier to use.

Mrs. M holding some of the best
Mrs. M holding some of the best beets
The complete beet harvest
The complete beet harvest

We were able to can over nine pints of pickled beets and still had enough to share with neighbors.

The second harvest this week was potatoes.  I was surprised to be picking potatoes, it feels a bit early.  However, the leaves were yellowing some brown and shriveled.  The leaf area had decreased greatly.  I was worrying I something might happen to the potatoes if I did not harvest them.

About twenty pound of potatoes from two pounds of seed potatoe
About twenty pound of potatoes from two pounds of seed potatoes

I think they look really good.  After frying a few up for supper they taste really good too.

Several crops are getting closer to harvest.

Lots of green peppers
Lots of green peppers – two nice bells in the middle           click to enlarge

The peppers have been doing very well this year.  The plants are vigorous and there are lots of flowers.  Many are top-heavy and needed to be staked up.

The popcorn is beginning to tassel.  Ears will be forming soon.

Popcorn tassles
Popcorn tassels

I did not do well providing support for my tomatoes.  Regardless, they are doing well despite me.

My first "reddish" tomato
My first “reddish” tomato

The last bit of work done around the Micro-farm this week was on the raspberry bushes.  The canes that produced fruit earlier this year have turned brown and many of the leaves have died.  So I cut out the old canes to allow the plants to feed only the new canes.  Additionally, on the black raspberries I “tipped” them in hopes they will creat more lateral growth.  Black raspberries clone themselves by growing long canes then the canes lean over and when they touch soil they will send out roots.  Then a new plant is formed.  If I tip them then they will put more energy into fruit production, at least that is the plan.

Tipped black raspberry canes
Tipped black raspberry canes

As you can see it has been busy around the Micro-farm.  I hope you are busy with your garden as well.  I hope you are enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

 

Home Grown Popcorn

You may think I am crazy, but I harvested carrots this week.  Crazier still, there are more out in the garden beds. If the temperatures stay this way I do not have to worry about the soil freezing.

My harvest from this past week.

These “ugly-ish” carrots tasted great. Normally I do not have problems with carrot pests. Recently, the tops of a few carrots have been nibbled on.

Carrot with some insect damage.

I walked past my popcorn to many times without cooking some up.  I selected to ears and shucked them.  I was struck by the color of the ears. The kernels were shiny and hard.

Two ears of popcorn

Peeling the kernels off took a bit of time. While separating the kernels I wondered if they were too dry or if they would pop at all.

While in the grocery store I found a Whirley Pop, and I thought that would be the best way to pop my corn. There are other ways to popcorn; a dutch oven, frying pan, and you can even microwave it yourself.

All it took was 1/2 cup of corn,  three tablespoons of olive oil, and a Whirley pop

The Whirley Pop instructions state it should take about three minutes to pop corn.  I found it took a little longer.

Success!

This bowl did not last long, I ruined my lunch – oh well.  Everyone who tried it said the flavor was great.

I ate to the bottom of the bowl with scientific curiosity.  I wondered how many kernels would remain un-popped.

About ten to fifteen kernels left at the bottom.

After a couple bowls of popcorn I was convinced.  Homegrown popcorn has something that store-bought popcorn does not.  I found myself wondering why I would buy this in a store again. If you enjoy popcorn I recommend growing this at home.  I felt more successful growing popcorn than growing sweet corn.  I was able to get many more two ear plants with popcorn.

What enjoyable surprises have you grown?  What crops do you grow that you no longer buy at the store?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.